For the first time in the history of Gujarat, women candidates would be recruited as sepoys to handle more than 500 female inmates lodged at 26 jails across the state.
PC Thakur, state director general of police (DGP) and additional DGP of prisons, said that 63 female sepoys would be recruited by the end of December and sent for training.
The state prison authority is in the final stages of appointing 750 male sepoys too. This mass recruitment drive came after a gap of more than 25 years.
“Such recruitment drive for sepoys took place in 1987. Though a small number was added in 1997, many posts remained vacant for years. We will declare the final selection list for 750 male and 63 female posts by the end of December,” said Thakur.
The issue of staff shortage was raised by many after the infamous jail tunnel episode at Ahmedabad Central Jail in February 2013.
Officials said not many were keen to join as sepoys earlier, which led to the backlog of unfilled positions.
“Now, the state government has put sepoy cadre at par with police constable. Earlier, there was a vast gap in the salaries offered to sepoys and constables. Hence, very few candidates used to apply for the post of sepoy,” assured Thakur.
“Now, we are planning to give them salaries as per 6th Pay Commission. This recruitment will cater to 60% backlog of unfilled vacancies,” he added. As per the latest figures released on November 1, the 26 jails in the state house a total of 10,954 male and 505 female prisoners.
Earlier, prisons used to have only ‘matrons’ to handle the female inmates.
“We felt the need for qualified and trained female staff to handle the women prisoners and hence decided to go for their recruitment. Just like police, they will be trained for nine months at Karai police academy. There they will learn to use various firearms, including a rifle,” said Thakur.
Altogether 18,057 candidates, including girls, appeared in the recently held written exam for the post of sepoy.
After the completion of the training, Ahmedabad jail will get 150 sepoys, Vadodara will get 145, Lajpore 212, Rajkot 94, Porbandar 37, Palara 37, Bhavnagar 30, Jamnagar 31, Junagadh 34 and Nadiad 14.